Coca-Cola has given a vote of confidence to its longest-standing agency
of record, McCann-Erickson, by retaining it as the company’s central co-
ordinator of media planning and buying across all brands in Europe,
after a formal review.
A Coca-Cola spokesman in Atlanta confirmed that McCanns, whose 40 years
of global involvement with the soft-drinks giant has been curtailed in
recent years by a series of account losses, had fought off challenges
for the dollars 200 million business from other roster agencies.
He declined to name the other agencies, but it is understood that Leo
Burnett, Optimedia, the media arm of Publicis-FCB, and Carat made
presentations to Coke in Atlanta last summer.
The spokesman added that any decisions to review media in individual
European markets would be left to local marketing chiefs.
The decision will come as a particular blow to Optimedia, which was
thought to be in strong contention after Publicis picked up the pan-
European account servicing role for the main Coca-Cola brand out of
McCanns in July.
Burnetts was also seen as a strong contender after it won the global
creative task for the Fruitopia brand, for which it also buys media in
Italy. Carat handles some sponsorship work for Coke in France and is
also Europe’s biggest media network.
The task, which McCanns has held throughout its long relationship with
Coke, involves responsibility for all media services across Europe,
working on strategy with local media buyers in different markets, and
the buying and planning of all pan-European media, such as MTV Europe
McCanns recently poached Maarten Albarda from Burnetts to head the pan-
European account (Campaign, 10 November 1995). Albarda, who was hired at
a time when the business was under threat, leads a team of four that
reports to Coke’s strategic media department in the US.
This article was first published on Campaign